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KZ Commentary: Episode 7, “Pet Store”

Ah, what could be more ironic than a huge beast trying to work in a pet store? In this show,¬†Krogzilla is really pulled in a lot of directions. On one hand, he’s completely sympathetic to the caged reptiles, calling them “slaves” to the humans. On the other hand, he sees a lot of the animals as part of a big buffet line. I’ll be honest, Krogzilla’s appetite for cats is a bit of an homage to ALF. Y’know, “Alf?” The 80’s puppet sitcom? Alien living with a family? Okay, super old reference.

I enjoyed writing this episode which was a bit of a departure from the format. In this one, Krog and Marcus don’t even GET the job. They’re just trying to apply and they really blow it. I liked bringing Marcus back into the show here (and a lot of you seem to like him too — thanks). This creates some “buddy movie” banter between the two — Krog giving in to his inappropriate monster instincts, and Marcus trying to cover for him. And the pet store manager is completely humorless. She ain’t havin’ it!

I wrote this part with my sister Katie Hooten¬†in mind. Katie is the next Tina Fey. Her observations and deadpan delivery always strike me funny. I thought, “If anyone needs to shoot down these two guys, it’s Katie.” Katie has done a ton of work behind the camera as a producer, and is now making her way in the industry as a screenwriter. It was fun to put her behind the mic and get her to perform again. I’m still playing with a rule I’ve created for this show that no one is really amazed that Krog is a monster. They’re more irritated by it… as if monsters are a new kind of minority or social class that we are all getting used to.

This episode has two punchlines to it. One is the traditional “button,” where Krog’s appetite finally gets the best of him and he eats a whole cage of parakeets. Then I go into a bit of an epilogue outside the store. And this scene gets weirder and weirder. I really enjoy the loose and improvisational argument that Josh Greene and I have as we exit the store. Then the most awkward and creepy character in the series appears — a delivery guy played by Ken Marino. A lot of these lines were improvised, taken much farther than I wrote, and we found some pretty funny stuff. WHAT is this guy into? Why does he want Krog as his pet… or as his photography model? Why is he so into reptiles in an almost fetishistic way? I don’t want to know. But it made me laugh.

A little trivia: Ken’s character was originally written to be a skinny GOTH guy, with emo hair, eye makeup and studded collar. I think the voice was even recorded with that in mind. But the animators let me know early on that I had written way to many characters for the budget… like TWICE as many. It takes time to build each of these characters in Flash Animation and time equals money. The solution is something that many of you have picked up on. I created several “types” that would have interchangeable hair, mustaches, skin coloring and wardrobe accessories. Thus, the delivery guy bears a striking resemblance to Vince the Big Dogs manager… or the mall security guard. And you may notice that SHIRLEY the pet store manager is the exact same type as LOLA the pink-haired bully from Episode 5. I’m kind of proud of that design. With color changes alone, I took the exact same character design from punk rock hoodlum to conservative African American in a business skirt! Ta-da! It’s all in the color styling, folks.

You’ll see these character double-ups throughout the series. I was still able to choose my battles and create specific, unique stand-alone characters when I really felt I needed them. I hope the reused character designs don’t affect the feel of a city FULL of characters, which is what I wanted. Think of it like the Muppets… a lot of those guys were the same shape with different noses, right?

I keep waiting for animal lovers to speak out against this one, but I guess we ALL eat birds, don’t we? Next week, Krog not only tries to fit in with humans… he is given the job of educating them. Or… not educating them, as the case may be.

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